KMU Bewegt

Physical activity promotion and exercise therapy – A knowledge tranfer project between FAU and small and medium-sized enterprises in health promotion and rehabilitation

The “Physical Activity and Health” Division (Head: Prof. Dr. Klaus Pfeifer) of the Department of Sport Science and Sport (DSS) of the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) started the project on November 1, 2015:


Exercise therapy in change

The prevalence of physical inactivity in people with chronic diseases is high and represents an independent risk factor for the development and chronification of non-infectious diseases. At the same time, the evidence for positive effects of physical activity in the rehabilitation of chronic diseases is now immense. Today, exercise therapy is the most comprehensive intervention in the rehabilitation of chronic diseases, but changes towards physically active lifestyles often fail to occur. Thus, the commitment to physical-sport activity is of central importance in addition to the further development of exercise therapy with regard to a biopsychosocial target system.

Contemporary exercise therapy concepts therefore address the ability to initiate and maintain physical activity in order to be able to optimise and secure the positive physical adaptations after rehabilitation in the long term.

Challenges of exercise therapy care

The rapid transfer of scientifically successfully developed and tested concepts into practice is currently a nationally and internationally discussed challenge. This is particularly true with regard to communicative networking, the necessary paradigm shifts in education and training (inter- and transdisciplinarity) and the need to constantly update health care services. With a view to evidence-based health care and the competitiveness of health care companies, these are particularly tasks for KMU in regions where demographic change poses particular challenges (ageing population, increase in chronic illnesses).

In addition, there is currently still relatively limited knowledge as to how physical activity promotion and exercise therapy are actually implemented in practice, where there may still be a direct need for practical research, knowledge or resources, or which barriers make the translation of scientific knowledge into practice more difficult.

Project aims

The project aims to improve the quality of care in the long term and to increase competitiveness in health promotion and rehabilitation through systematic knowledge transfer between universities and small and medium-sized health care enterprises.


Measures to achieve the objectives are the conception and realisation of an internet-based communication and further training platform, the implementation of a needs assessment at the companies, the development of training concepts and modules of therapy-based concepts for the promotion of physical activity and identified practice-relevant subject areas as well as the implementation of net-based further training with various formats.

The concepts and modules are based on the model concept for behavioural exercise therapy, which was specially designed for the rehabilitation of people with chronic illnesses and developed in our working group. In addition, resources such as participant documents or therapy manuals have been developed in the course of various projects, which can and should be used in practice:

At the end of the project term, theory-based and practice-relevant knowledge modules should be available to all employees of participating companies, even after the end of the project.


The overriding goal of the project is to increase the quality of exercise therapy care. Both health and rehabilitation centres and university research benefit from the targeted bilateral transfer of knowledge. The project also serves as a basis for a systematic quality development of exercise therapy, especially with regard to the further development, dissemination and implementation of evidence-based exercise therapy concepts.

Sponsor and Partners

The project is funded within the framework of the programme “Network-supported knowledge transfer from universities to companies”, which is carried out by the European Social Fund (ESF) under the auspices of the Virtual University of Bavaria (vhb). This funding programme is assigned to priority axis A “Promotion of sustainable and high-quality employment and support for labour mobility” of action 6 of the ESF “Network activities between universities and enterprises”.

A total of 27 companies are participating in this project. The partners participate in the planned needs analysis, the (further) development of the platform and in the workshops and web-based further training.

Period: 01.11.2015-31.10.2016
Project manager: Prof. Dr. Klaus Pfeifer
Project staff: Dr. Alexander Tallner, René Streber
Cooperation partner: 27 companies
Sponsor: Virtual University of Bavaria and European Social Fund
Total amount: 173.031€


Project webpage: